How the propagation of error through stochastic counters affects time discrimination and other psychophysical judgments

Peter R. Killeen, Thomas Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The performance of fallible counters is investigated in the context of pacemaker-counter models of interval timing. Failure to reliably transmit signals from one stage of a counter to the next generates periodicity in mean and variance of counts registered, with means power functions of input and standard deviations approximately proportional to the means (Weber's law). The transition diagrams and matrices of the counter are self-similar: Their eigenvalues have a fractal form and closely approximate Julia sets. The distributions of counts registered and of hitting times approximate Weibull densities, which provide the foundation for a signal-detection model of discrimination. Different schemes for weighting the values of each stage may be established by conditioning. As higher order stages of a cascade come on-line the veridicality of lower order stages degrades, leading to scale-invariance in error. The capacity of a counter is more likely to be limited by fallible transmission between stages than by a paucity of stages. Probabilities of successful transmission between stages of a binary counter around 0.98 yield predictions consistent with performance in temporal discrimination and production and with channel capacities for identification of unidimensional stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-459
Number of pages30
JournalPsychological Review
Volume107
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2000

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Fractals
Periodicity
Discrimination (Psychology)
Psychological Signal Detection
Conditioning (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

How the propagation of error through stochastic counters affects time discrimination and other psychophysical judgments. / Killeen, Peter R.; Taylor, Thomas.

In: Psychological Review, Vol. 107, No. 3, 07.2000, p. 430-459.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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